Awake (2007)

Directed By: Joby Harold
Written By: Joby Harold
Starring: Hayden Christensen
  Jessica Alba
  Terrence Howard
  Lena Olin

Awake is dull. Great concept, appalling script, terribly acted and manically boring. If you want to continue reading this review, then it’s guaranteed to be more entertaining than the ninety minutes of sleep-inducing crud that someone felt necessary to commit to film. Avoid this unless you’ve run out of anaesthetic.

Clay Beresford (Hayden Christensen) has a bad heart, and he’s been on the heart donor list for some time. One evening, annoyingly coinciding with his shotgun wedding to Sam Lockwood (Jessica Alba), a heart donor appears and Clay is rushed to hospital. Putting him under sedation, they begin the procedure, but something isn’t right – Clay can still feel everything – the first incision, the bonesaw, everything. What’s worse, and completely insanely ridiculous, is that all the surgeons working on him are involved in some kind of crazy conspiracy which Clay can hear but do nothing about. Stuck inside his body, Clay lays in hope that someone will come to his rescue despite no one knowing anything is wrong.

Hayden Christensen could possibly be the most un-entertaining man in Hollywood. His face is lifeless, his accent dull, his on-screen personality so phenomenally boring that every scene he’s in is a struggle to wade through, making the title stunningly ironic as you struggle to stay awake during Awake. Couple him with Jessica Alba at her most patronisingly bland and should be re-titled Coma. It is a yawn-worthy affair that takes a crawlingly long time to reach any kind of tension, bumbling onwards as we witness the disgusting affluent Clay contemplating his heart transplant while receiving unwanted advice from everyone. Thankfully the supporting characters are decent enough, and you will find yourself begging for Terrence Howard to appear and say something, anything, that detracts for Christensen’s brain-stopping attempt at acting.

Awake is gratingly predictable, with some hideously po-faced flashbacks and pathetically obvious twists. If the concept isn’t laughable enough, the majority of the scenes are, and everything about Awake smacks of amateurishness and a distinct lack of discipline.

Resting on the main idea of being able to feel pain during an operation, Awake fails to grip when it really should. As Clay lays on the surgery table and thinks “wait, am I supposed to be asleep right now?”, the panic should set in as they begin cutting him open, but instead it is so ham-fistedly portrayed and Christensen’s voiceover so bloody annoying that all dramatic tension is utterly destroyed. The mere concept should be painful enough, but the way Clay deals with feeling someone ripping open his chest is hilariously unrealistic and just fuel for a series of flashbacks. It is dumb and appallingly written. It is the equivalent of picking up a great idea and removing it’s heart with a blunt chainsaw and a ice cream scoop.

Awake is boring. It is an idea with absolutely no substance and the film simply ambles along at a leisurely, careless pace. There is no need to watch it, because the concept is a thousand times better than the execution. Watch something else, unless you’ve run out of morphine, in which case this is cheaper alternative that’s sadly more painful to inject. Avoid.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

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